CIMA Guanacaste scheduled to open later this month

By Kayla Pearson

of the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The Hospital CIMA Guanacaste will open July 27 with six beds that will gradually grow into 20. The grand opening comes over a year after the groundbreaking, due to delays with licensing and construction, according to a summary by the man in charge. In addition:


* The facility will have a 24-hour emergency room, operation capabilities and a full-service clinic, complete with a lab, radiology, and computerized tomography scans.


* As doctors become more familiar with the practice and the cliental grows, the hospital will expand into another building.


* All the medical staff will come from Guanacaste. Since these doctors are specialist, the Hospital CIMA Guanacaste staff will not do complicated procedures such as heart surgeries. Those patients will be referred to CIMA San José.


“We expect to be busy there, but we will refer a lot of patients here,” said Paul Mouritsen, director general and CEO of the Guanacaste facility. He was speaking at Hospital CIMA in Escazú Monday.


On occasion, to save cost for the patients, elective surgeries that require physicians from San José will be scheduled together, and the doctors will travel to Guanacaste to perform the procedures, he said.


Costa Rica has promoted itself as a tourist destination with a portion of visitors here to get medical attention. For example, CIMA San José has recently seen an influx of people coming to get bariatric surgery to help with obesity.


“Medical tourism started in Costa Rica with cosmetic procedures and dental procedures – those procedures that are not normally covered by insurance. Very few people come here just to have something done, then go back. But I think that’s going to change,” said Mouritsen.


“What we think will happen is people will come to

hotels and visit the surf shops and the beaches. Some will get sick and need attention. Some will get hurt and need attention. After visiting our hospital, they will get brochures and information and spread the word,” he added.


As world spreads, the corporation hopes that CIMA hospitals will become a preferred destination to mix in hospital visits with vacations.


“Most of the people who come are retired. They can come get a hip replacement, spend a week in recovery, then do rehab on a beach for a month. Why not do that?” said Mouritsen.


The facility is in Pacific Plaza west of the Daniel Oduber international airport in Liberia.


CIMA, which stands for Centro Internacional de Medicina, has locations in Mexico, Central America and Brazil. It is owned by the International Hospital Corporation headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The hospitals provide privately managed and owned services in areas that are traditionally underserved, and is recognized for having quality standards, the firm said.


The public hospitals in Costa Rica are operated under the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and are overcrowded with limited resources. CIMA is another alternative for both tourist and Costa Ricans without insurance with the Caja, said Mouritsen.


Mouritsen took over as CEO for the Costa Rican hospitals five weeks ago. Before he served as CEO of CIMA Hermosillo in Sonora, Mexico. Since arriving in the country, he said he has worked to maintain the companies values of quality, sustainability and ethics.


Mouritsen said he has sure the hospital employees adhere to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He said he fired staff members who were taking bribes from vendors and terminated contracts with companies that weren’t being ethical.


American and International insurance such as Metlife, BUPA, and Blue Cross Blue Shield International are accepted by CIMA